1 Global Jihadism After the Iraq War Thomas Hegghammer How has the invasion of Iraq influenced global jihadist ideology? Based on primary sources in Arabic, this article highlights important ideological changes; Iraq is considered a crossroads in the global jihad against the Crusaders. New strategic dilemmas have caused divisions among militants, and Iraq s attractiveness has undermined other battlefronts. A new strategic studies genre has emerged in jihadist literature. Countries in Europe and the Gulf are increasingly highlighted as enemies and potential targets. There seems to be a broad consensus among terrorism experts that the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 has contributed negatively to the so-called global war on terror. According to many analysts, the war and the subsequent occupation have increased the level of frustration in the Islamic world over American foreign policy and facilitated recruitment by militant Islamist groups. 1 Moreover, Iraq seems to have replaced Afghanistan as a training ground where a new generation of Islamist militants can acquire military expertise and build personal relationships through the experience of combat and training camps. 2 Most analyses, however, seem to stop at the ascertainment of a vague, almost quantitative increase in the level of anti-americanism or radicalism in Muslim communities since the Iraq War in This article will try to delve deeper into the matter and explore the qualitative changes in radical Islamist ideology since The next few pages are therefore devoted to the following research question: How has the invasion and occupation of Iraq influenced the ideological development of the socalled global jihadist movement? This question demands a closer examination of the writings and sayings of leading radical ideologues on the issue of Iraq since the autumn of 2002, when the pros- Thomas Hegghammer is a Research Associate at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and a PhD candidate at the Institut d Études Politiques in Paris. His recent publications include Gilles Kepel et al., Al-Qaida dans le texte [Al-Qa ida Through Texts], (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2005); Stéphane Lacroix and Thomas Hegghammer, Saudi Arabia Backgrounder: Who Are the Islamists? (Brussels: International Crisis Group, 2004); Brynjar Lia and Thomas Hegghammer, Jihadi Strategic Studies, in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 27, No. 5 (2004). Mr. Hegghammer would like to thank Dr. Brynjar Lia, Petter Nesser, and Stéphane Lacroix for useful advice in preparing this article. 1. Richard Norton-Taylor, Iraq War Has Swollen Ranks of al-qaida, Guardian, October 16, Dana Priest, Iraq New Terror Breeding Ground, Washington Post, January 14, MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL VOLUME 60, NO. 1, WINTER 2006
2 12 MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL pect of war caught the world s attention. Basing my analysis on key ideological texts, I will try to answer the following four subquestions: How important is Iraq to the socalled global jihadists? How united are the global jihadists in their view on the struggle for Iraq? How have the war and the occupation influenced their analysis of the overall confrontation with the US and the West? And how has their view of the enemy changed after the multinational invasion of Iraq? It must be emphasized that our focus will be on the militant and internationally-orientated Islamists, which means that moderate Islamist actors and nationalist Iraqi groups will not be considered here. The research literature contains relatively few in-depth studies of post-september 11, 2001 ideological developments in radical Islamism. 3 This study is therefore almost entirely based on primary sources, mainly Arabic texts from radical Islamist Internet sites. These sources are often problematic and cannot provide the full answer to our research question, but they represent one of our only windows into the world of militant Islamism. The key argument in this article is that the Iraq War gave the global jihadists a welcome focal point in their struggle against the USA, but that Iraq at the same time became so attractive as a battle front that it weakened terrorist campaigns elsewhere. Moreover, it is argued that the Iraq conflict contributed to the development of more sophisticated strategic thought in jihadist circles, and to an increase in hostility toward Europe and the Gulf countries. The main objective of this analysis is to draw a more accurate picture of the global jihadist movement and to illustrate how armed conflict can generate unexpected ideological changes within radical political movements. AL-QA IDA AND GLOBAL JIHADISM SINCE 9/11 First of all, it is essential to define the notion of global jihadism and clarify its relation to other Islamist movements. Islamism in itself a debated and polysemic term is understood by this author as meaning Islamic activism. It includes nonviolent and violent, progressive as well as reactionary, political movements. Militant groups represent only a marginal part of the Islamist political landscape. Islamist militants relate to Islamism much in the same way that left-wing extremists and Marxist guerrilla groups relate to socialism. Militant Islamism has its own intellectual history, in which so-called global jihadism represents a relatively recent phenomenon. The first modern violent Islamist groups appeared in the Middle East in the 1960s and 1970s as radical expressions of broader socio-revolutionary movements. These groups struggled for state power 3. Notable exceptions include Fawaz Gerges, The Far Enemy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Guido Steinberg, Der Nahe und Der Ferne Feind [The Near and the Far Enemy] (Munich: C.H. Beck, 2005); Gilles Kepel, The War for Muslim Minds (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2004); Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam (New York: Columbia, 2004); Dominique Thomas, Les Hommes d al-qaïda [The Men of al-qa ida] (Paris: Michalon, 2005); Anonymous (Michael Scheuer), Imperial Hubris (New York: Brassey s, 2004). See also Reuven Paz numerous PRISM papers (available at for excellent shorter analyses of ongoing ideological developments.
3 GLOBAL JIHADISM AFTER THE IRAQ WAR 13 and their main enemies were the local political regimes. In the 1980s and 1990s, Islamism as an ideological framework was adopted by nationalist and separatist movements in many different parts of the world. This type of militant Islamist group, present in places such as Palestine and Chechnya, did not fight primarily for state power, but for a specific territory. Their principal enemies were non-muslim states or communities that contested the same piece of land. In the mid-1990s, a third type of militant Islamism appeared, namely global jihadism. It emerged as a result of Usama bin Ladin s adoption of a doctrine in 1996 which emphasized the fight against the US over the fight against local regimes. 4 The global jihad doctrine involved a reversal of the priorities of the socio-revolutionaries and the nationalist-separatists. Global jihadist ideologues said that before an Islamic state could be established in Egypt, and before Palestine could be liberated, Muslims needed to defend the entire Islamic world against the imminent military threat posed by the US and the West. 5 Bin Ladin s brothers-inarms, most of whom were veterans of the Afghan War in the 1980s, began launching terrorist attacks directly on Western targets in different parts of the world. These new jihadists were no longer struggling for a specific territory or for state power in a particular country. They were fighting to defend all Muslim territories at the same time. Their main opponent was no longer the local regimes ( the near enemy ), but the United States ( the far enemy ) and its allies. The discourse of these global jihadists tended to highlight Muslims suffering at the hands of the so-called Jewish-Crusader alliance. Their texts were characterized by long enumerations of places and events which demonstrated that Muslims were victims of oppression, occupation, and war. 6 Global jihadism found its primary operational expression in the international terrorist activity of al-qa ida and the so-called Afghan Arabs from the mid-1990s onwards. The term al-qa ida is very problematic and is probably most relevant to describe the organization which took shape around Usama bin Ladin in Afghanistan between 1996 and Al-Qa ida became a unique phenomenon in the history of 4. Usama bin Ladin, Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Two Holy Places, signed August 23, 1996 (Reproduced in Thomas Hegghammer, Dokumentasjon om al-qaida [Documentation on al-qa ida], Kjeller: FFI/Rapport 01393, 2002 [Available at /01393.pdf], pp ). 5. Ayman al-zawahiri, Fursan taht Rayat al-nabi [ Knights under the Prophet s Banner ], published as an article series in al-sharq al-awsat, December 2-12, For an overview of texts by Usama bin Ladin and Ayman al-zawahiri in English translation, see Thomas Hegghammer, Dokumentasjon om al-qaida [Documentation on al-qa ida] Kjeller: FFI/Rapport 01393, 2002 (Available at and Thomas Hegghammer, Al-Qaida Statements , Kjeller: FFI/Rapport 01428, 2005 (available at rapporter.ffi.no/rapporter/2005/01428.pdf); See also Kepel et al., Al-Qaïda dans le texte. Since this article was originally written, two new compilations of quality translations of Bin Ladin texts have been published: see Bruce Lawrence (ed.), Messages to the World (New York: Verso, 2005); and Randall B. Hamud (ed.), Osama bin Laden: America s Enemy in His Own Words (San Diego: Nadeem, 2005). 7. There has been a certain amount of debate over when, and if at all, al-qa ida ever constituted a coherent, self-aware organization. According to one version of history, al-qa ida was founded as an Continued on next page
4 14 MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL terrorism, because it enjoyed access to a territory, which it used to apply a unique organizational concept, namely an educational institution for global terrorism and guerrilla warfare. The organization itself remained relatively small ( people), but the training camps were frequented by many more (10,000-20,000 people). 8 Radicalized Muslim youth from all over the world could travel to Afghanistan and spend time in these camps. Here lies the key to understanding the extremism and the internal cohesion of the so-called al-qa ida network. The training camps generated an ultra-masculine culture of violence which brutalized the volunteers and broke down their barriers to the use of violence. Recruits increased their paramilitary skills while the harsh camp life built strong personal relationships between them. Last but not least, they fell under the ideological influence of Usama bin Ladin and Ayman al-zawahiri, who generated a feeling among the recruits of being part of a global vanguard of holy warriors, whose mission was to defend the Islamic world against attacks by the Jewish-Crusader alliance. The US-led invasion of Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 denied al-qa ida access to its territory, thus removing the basis for its unique organizational concept. Moreover, the top leadership was forced into hiding, presumably in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, while the mid-level leadership and the lower ranks sought refuge in various countries around the world. Post-9/11 security measures restricted their mobility, reduced the number of available meeting-places, and made long-distance communication more difficult. The result was a weakening of what had been the organizational glue in the al-qa ida network, namely the strong personal relationships and the ideological unity. In 2002, the various local branches of the al- Qa ida network were strategically disoriented, and it seemed that old ideological debates and dividing lines started reappearing. Not everyone agreed that the liberation of Afghanistan was the most important issue. What about Palestine? And what about the struggle against the local regimes in the Arab world? One might therefore say that the invasion of Afghanistan destroyed al-qa ida as an organization in the analytically useful sense of the word. Instead an extremely diverse and loosely knit ideological movement emerged, which many continue to call al-qa ida, for lack of a better term. However, the current author prefers the term global jihadist movement, because it better reflects the decentralized and multipolar nature of the phenomenon. This heterogeneous movement consists of actors with partially diverging political and strategic priorities. They are bound together by little more than an extreme anti-americanism and a willingness to carry out mass-casualty Continued from previous page organization in the late 1980s, as an offshoot of the Services Bureau and the brainchild of Abdallah Azzam (see 9/11 Commission Report; Rohan Gunaratna, Inside al-qaida (London: Hurst, 2002)). Critics, (see Jason Burke, Al-Qaeda (London: IB Tauris, 2003)) have rightly pointed out that there are extremely few indications pre-9/11 that the name al-qa ida was ever in use by the people whom we assume to be its members. What is clear, however, is that the organizational structures around Bin Ladin became markedly more extensive, complex, and hierarchical after his move to Afghanistan in There is no doubt that by , Bin Ladin presided over a sophisticated organization, whether the name al-qa ida was used internally or not. 8. The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 67.
5 GLOBAL JIHADISM AFTER THE IRAQ WAR 15 attacks on Western targets. In more concrete terms, the old al-qa ida network seems to have split up into five regionally-defined clusters, whose centers of gravity are in Iraq, Saudi-Arabia, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Southeast Asia, and Europe/North Africa. 9 These networks seem to operate relatively independently from each other, although transregional contacts are widespread. In some areas, such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the global jihadists have formed identifiable organizations ( al-qa ida in the Land of the Two Rivers and al-qa ida on the Arabian Peninsula ). In other places, such as Europe, the organizational structures are much more difficult to identify. Two things make the global jihadists more global than other militant Islamists. First of all, they view the US and the West as the primary and immediate enemy, and they see their own military activity as part of a global confrontation with the Jewish-Crusader alliance. Second, their operational pattern is transnational, either in the sense that they prefer to strike at international targets in their local battle zone, or that they are willing to carry out terrorist attacks far outside of their territorial base, for example in Europe or in the US. In practice, however, the distinction between global and local jihadists is often difficult to make. For a start, all militant Islamist groups today, whether they are globally or locally oriented, use virulently anti-american rhetoric. Moreover, attacks on Western targets in places such as Iraq may also be carried out by groups with a primarily nationalist agenda. This illustrates more than anything else that the study of ideology is not an exact science and that our current concepts do not adequately capture the complex phenomenon of Islamist militancy. These developments raise important questions. How do we identify the key ideological tendencies in a group of actors as complex and decentralized as the global jihadist movement? And how do we deal with the vast amounts of ideological material of different origin that is circulating on the Internet? A first possible step is to identify the main participants in the ideological debates. This author argues that there are five principal categories of actors that shape contemporary global jihadist ideology. The first category is represented by the leadership of the old al-qa ida, i.e. Usama bin Ladin and Ayman al-zawahiri. They have an almost mythical status in Islamist circles and still exert tremendous ideological influence. The two leaders communicate primarily through sound and video recordings diffused on Arabic television stations such as al-jazeera and on the Internet. The statements by Bin Ladin and al-zawahiri are often quite general in content, and their main purpose seems to be to convince and motivate believers to take up arms against the enemy. Their approximately 40 statements since the autumn of 2001 have focused on the political reasons to fight the Crusaders. 10 They rarely provide specific strategic or tactical advice, and hence their declarations are always subject to interpretation by other writers It must be emphasized that national and regional clusters have always existed within the al- Qa ida network. See Marc Sageman, Understanding Terrorist Networks (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2004). 10. Hegghammer, Dokumentasjon om al-qaida and Hegghammer, Al-Qaida Statements Reuven Paz, Al-Qa idah s Interpreters, PRISM Occasional Papers 1, 1 (Available at
6 16 MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL The second category consists of the religious scholars. They are most often, though not always, older people with a formal religious education. The role of these jihad shaykhs is to issue fatwas clarifying what is religiously legitimate or necessary to do in the struggle against the infidels. 12 They are seldom directly connected to militant groups. Most of them have been based in Saudi Arabia, Britain, or in unknown locations. Since September 11, the vast majority of these scholars have been imprisoned, put in house arrest or otherwise silenced, but some are still active. 13 Their fatwas and books are published and distributed on the Internet by young and computer-savvy assistants drawn from the entourage of students that often surround these scholars. The third category comprises the strategic thinkers. They tend to be in their twenties or thirties and are members of militant groups, but they are generally not involved in the front line of the military operations. They write articles and books about the best way from a functional point of view to fight the enemy. They are thus somewhat less concerned with theological aspects of the struggle. Their publications are also distributed on the Internet. Such strategic thinkers include Yusuf al- Ayiri, Abu Mus ab al-suri, and Abu Umar al-sayf. 14 Some writers are completely 12. Radical Islamist ideologues themselves use the term scholars of jihad [ ulama al-jihad], in opposition to the scholars of the palace [ ulama al-balat] who side with the oppressive rulers. See Ayman al-zawahiri, Knights under the Prophet s Banner. 13. Examples of prominent scholars imprisoned in 2002 and 2003 include the Palestinian-Jordanian Abu Qatada al-falastini (aka Umar Mahmud Abu Umar), held in the United Kingdom, and the Saudi Nasir al-fahd and Ali al-khudayr (imprisoned in Saudi Arabia). Some important figures were imprisoned in the mid-1990s, such as the Egyptian Umar Abd al-rahman (imprisoned in the US) and the Palestinian-Jordanian Abu Muhammad al-maqdisi (aka Isam al-barqawi). Al-Maqdisi regularly releases texts, presumably smuggled out from his Jordanian prison by visitors. One of the last remaining jihad shaykhs is the Syrian Abu Basir al-tartusi (aka Abd al-mu nim Halima) who is based in the UK. 14. Yusuf al- Ayiri was a Saudi ideologist and veteran of the first Afghan War in the 1980s. From about 2000 until his death in late May 2003, he was Usama bin Ladin s main contact in Saudi Arabia. He played an important ideological role as administrator of the website Markaz al-dirasat wa l-buhuth al- Islamiyya [Center for Islamic Studies and Research] and as author of several innovative strategic studies. He is also believed to be the architect behind the terrorist campaign launched in Saudi Arabia in May Abu Mus ab al-suri (aka Mustafa Sitmariam Nasir, aka Umar Abd al-hakim) is a Syrian veteran from the first Afghan War who played an important role on the European jihadist scene in the 1990s, notably as Editor of the jihadist magazine al-ansar [The Supporters] in London. He later disappeared from the ideological scene, only to reemerge with a much publicized come-back statement in December He is said by intelligence sources to have strong links to jihadists in Spain as well as to Abu Mus ab al-zarqawi in Iraq. He lived in Spain for several years in the 1990s and acquired Spanish citizenship by marrying a Spanish convert. See Lorenzo Vidino, A Suri State of Affairs, National Review Online, May 21, Al-Suri s large ideological production is very influential and he was reportedly arrested in the Pakistani city of Quetta in early November Abu Umar al-sayf is a Saudi-born ideologist who is based in or near Chechnya. He is said to be one of the main ideological guides of Shamil Basayev s radical faction of the Chechen resistance. His books are signed Head of the High Court of cassation in Chechnya [Ra is Mahkamat al-tamyiz al- Ulya fi al-shihan] and he is described in the Jihadist literature as Mufti of the Mujahidin in Chechnya [Mufti al-mujahidin fi al- Shihan] or Chief Judge and Leader of the Courts in Chechnya [Al-Qadi al-awwal wa Amir Continued on next page
7 GLOBAL JIHADISM AFTER THE IRAQ WAR 17 anonymous and are known only by their nom de plume on the Internet, such as Luis Atiyat Allah. 15 The fourth category of ideological actors include the active militant organizations. Groups such as al-qa ida on the Arabian Peninsula and al-qa ida in the Land of the Two Rivers often publish their own magazines and declarations with information about their operations and texts justifying their struggle. 16 The purpose of these publications is presumably to generate a maximum of publicity about the group s activities in order to facilitate recruitment and fundraising. These texts, which are distributed on the Internet, provide important insights into how the struggle is perceived at the battlefront. The fifth category is represented by what one might call the grassroot radicals, i.e., the thousands of anonymous participants on radical Islamist discussion forums on the Internet, such as al-ansar, al-qal a and al-islah [the Supporters; the Citadel; Reform]. 17 Every single day, hundreds of messages and commentaries are posted on these forums, which are primarily in Arabic. Subscribers can log on using fake identities and discuss politics, comment on news, and exchange rumours related to jihad fronts around the world. They can also download all the latest recordings and declarations by militant groups and leading ideologues. It is very difficult to know where these individuals come from or what they do in real life. It may seem, however, that the majority are Internet radicals who are not directly involved in terrorist activity. A NEW FOCAL POINT The most obvious change in the global jihadist movement in recent years is that Iraq is now considered by far the most important battle arena in the fight against the Jewish-Crusader alliance. A study of the textual production of leading ideologists Continued from previous page al-mahakim fi al-shishan]. At the end of November 2005, there were credible reports on jihadist message boards that Abu Umar had been killed by Russian troops. Al-Sayf is very well respected in the global jihadist movement. 15. See for example Maqalatuhu Tatalaqqafuha Andiyat al-hiwar, [ His Articles are Taking over the Discussion Forums ] al-quds al-arabi [London], July 23, There has been much speculation about Atiyat Allah s identity; for a recent theory, see al-sharq al-awsat, October 2, Al-Qa ida on the Arabian Peninsula published three different magazines: Sawt al-jihad [Voice of Jihad] (published in 29 issues), Mu askar al-battar [Camp of the Sabre] (22 issues) and al-khansa [named for a seventh century female poet who converted to Islam and urged her sons to wage jihad] (one issue). Al-Qa ida in the Land of the Two Rivers publishes a magazine called Dharwat al-sanam [Peak of the Hump], while the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) publishes al-jama a. Several other magazines have been published by various groups in the past two years. Many of them are available at Other important forums at the time of writing include Al-ikhlas, Al-hikma, Al-ma sada Aljihadiyya, Mufakkarat usama, Al-hisba, Al-tajdid, and Al-saqifa. There may be as many as 100 jihadist discussion forums, but the majority of them attract relatively few visitors. The Internet addresses of most of these websites change so often that it would not be useful to include them here.
8 18 MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL from 2001 until today clearly shows that the Iraq conflict became the most pressing single issue on the global jihadist agenda as early as the autumn of The leadership of the old al-qa ida started referring to the looming Iraq War in early October At that time Ayman al-zawahiri released an audio statement in which he said: The campaign against Iraq has aims that go beyond Iraq into the Arab Islamic world [ ] Its first aim is to destroy any effective military force in the proximity of Israel. Its second aim is to consolidate the supremacy of Israel [ ] America and its deputies should know that their crimes will not go unpunished. 18 Usama bin Ladin s first reference to the Iraq War came in the audio statement entitled Letter to the Iraqi people in early February 2003, which opened with the following words: We are following up with great interest and extreme concern the Crusaders preparations for war to occupy a former capital of Islam, loot Muslims wealth, and install an agent government. 19 Since then, the two leaders have issued at least 22 declarations, 17 of which make reference to Iraq, and seven of which have Iraq as its main topic. Out of the 12 statements released in 2004, only one did not mention Iraq. In comparison, Palestine is referred to in 14 of the 22 statements and was not the main topic in any of them. 20 The religious scholars in the global jihadist movement also began dealing with the Iraq question at an early stage. As early as September 2002, the prominent radical Saudi shaykh Nasir al-fahd released a book entitled The Crusader Campaign in its Second Phase: The Iraq War. 21 In October 2002, al-fahd and six other Saudi shaykhs issued a statement called Fatwa on the Infidelity of Whoever Helps the Americans Against Muslims in Iraq. 22 Virtually all of the most prominent jihad shaykhs have 18. Hegghammer, Dokumentasjon om al-qaida, p Hegghammer, Al-Qaida Statements , p See Hegghammer, Al-Qaida Statements Nasir al-fahd, al-hamla al-salibiyya fi Marhalatiha al-thaniyya: Harb al- Iraq [The Crusader Campaign in its Second Phase: The Iraq War], available at Nasir al-fahd is a prolific and influential Saudi scholar who was the leading figure in the so-called Saudi salafi-jihadist current which emerged in Burayda and Riyadh from the late 1990s onward and which included scholars such as Ali al-khudayr, Ahmad al-khalidi, Abd al- Aziz al-jarbu, and several others. They were all imprisoned in late May Nasir al-fahd et al., Fatwa fi Kufr man Ana al-amrikan ala al-muslimin fi l- Iraq [Fatwa on the Infidelity of Whoever Helps the Americans Against Muslims in Iraq], posted October 12, 2002 on now available on see Stéphane Lacroix, Le Champ Politico-Religieux en Arabie Saoudite après le 11 Septembre [The Political-Religious Field in Saudi Arabia after September 11] Master s degree thesis, Institut d Études Politiques de Paris, 2003.
9 GLOBAL JIHADISM AFTER THE IRAQ WAR 19 since then issued statements on the necessity of fighting the crusaders in Iraq. 23 The most visible and prolific theologian on the Iraq question is undoubtedly the Kuwaiti scholar Hamid al- Ali, who has written more than 20 fatwas on various aspects of the struggle in Iraq. 24 The independent strategic thinkers have produced a large number of publications on how the jihadists should proceed to liberate Iraq. The first long strategic analyses that appeared in the autumn of 2002 focused on the strategic intentions behind the American campaign, and on the possible types of military operations the US might launch against Iraq. 25 Later analyses sought to provide concrete strategic advice on the way forward in Iraq. The most well-known titles include Iraq and the Crusader Invasion Lessons and Expectations by Abu Umar al-sayf, Iraq From Occupation to Liberation by the editors of the jihadist magazine Majallat al-ansar, as well as the anonymous work Iraqi Jihad Expectations and Dangers. 26 A good indication of the strong interest among 23. See for example Abu Basir al-tartusi, Bayan hawla Ghazuw al-salibiyyin ala al- Iraq [Statement Regarding the Crusaders Invasion of Iraq], available on Abu Muhammad al-maqdisi, Risalat Munasara wa Munasaha li-ikhwanina Ahl al-sunna wa l-jama a fi l- Iraq [Letter to Our Sunni Brothers in Iraq], available on Ahmad al-khalidi, Wa-Intaqalat al- Ma raka ila Ard al- Iraq [The Battle Has Moved to Iraq], available on Sulayman al- Ulwan, Risala ila Sha b al- Iraq [Letter to the People of Iraq], available on Hamid al- Ali is a Kuwaiti scholar and former leader of one of the two main moderate Islamist parties in Kuwait. His discourse turned noticeably more radical in Al- Ali has emerged as the most important mufti for jihadist groups operating in Iraq. He was put under house arrest in the summer of 2004, and imprisoned in May See The very first strategic analysis of Washington s ambitions in Iraq appeared in August 2002 in Abu Ubayd al-qirshi s, Kharif al-ghadab al- Iraqi [The Iraqi Autumn of Wrath], Majallat al-ansar 16 (August 24, 2002). Later in the autumn of 2002, a larger and more influential work appeared, namely Yusuf al- Ayiri s al-harb al-salibiyya ala al- Iraq [The Crusader War on Iraq], which was published as a series of 11 articles on the website Centre for Islamic Studies and Research. 26. Abu Umar al-sayf, Al- Iraq wa Ghazuw al-salib: Durus wa Ta ammulat [Iraq and the Crusader Invasion: Lessons and Expectations], available on Sayf al-din al-ansari et al., Al- Iraq: min al-ihtilal ila al-tahrir [Iraq From Occupation to Liberation], Kitab al-ansar June 3, 2003, available on Anonymous, Iraq al-jihad: Amal wa Akhtar [Iraqi Jihad Expectations and Dangers], posted on the website Global Islamic Media on December 10, 2003, now available on Hopes 38063a.pdf. One might also mention Yusuf al- Ayiri, Mustaqbal al- Iraq wa l-jazira al- Arabiyya ba d Suqut Baghdad [The Future of Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula After the Fall of Baghdad]; and Anonymous, Al-Khasa ir al- Amrikiyya: mundhu Ghazwat Manhattan wa hatta al- Iraq [American Losses: From the Manhattan Raid to Iraq] originally published by al-nida Website, now available on Among the many interesting articles on Iraq in the jihadist magazine Majallat al-ansar, one might mention Abu Ayman al-hilali, Al-Hujum ala al- Iraq: bayna Khalt al-awraq wa Tartibiha [ The Attack on Iraq: From Mixing the Papers to Organizing Them ], Majallat al-ansar 19 (October 22, 2002); Abu Ubayd al-qirshi, Al-Marhala al-qadima [ The Coming Phase ], Majallat al-ansar 22 (December 5, 2002); Abu Ubayd al-qirshi, Amrika wa Mabadi al-harb: bayna al-nazariyya ila al-tatbiq [ America and the Principles of War: from Theory to Practice ], Majallat al-ansar 24 (January 2, 2003); Abu Ayman al-hilali, Al-Muqawama al- Iraqiyya wa Fashl al-dhari al-mukhattit al-amriki [ The Iraqi Resistance and the Failure of the American Planning Arm ], Majallat al-ansar 28 (April 3, 2003); and Abu Ubayd al-qirshi, Limadha Saqatat Baghdad? [ Why Did Baghdad Fall? ], Majallat al-ansar 29 (April 17, 2004).